I love old and rare coins as they contain many mysteries. In fact, I recently found a 1975 U.S. dime in my possession that, according to what I initially read in an article, could be worth $500K! After all, it didn’t have the mint mark on it. “Woo hoo, I am rich!” …Nope. While my coin didn’t have the mint mark, it also was not a collector’s proof coin. Sigh.
As dreams of striking it rich with this [not too] old coin quickly faded into a 10-cent reality, I was still drawn to my coin collection. While I keep these coins stored away in a simple box, it had been a while since I took time to look them over. Most of my coins are U.S. coins that I had collected over the years from various sources. Other non-U.S. coins came from my wife’s grandfather (William Schindler), who collected coins from all over the world.
While my coin collection is basically worthless (from a monetary standpoint) and is simply a stash of fun conversation pieces, I find it very invaluable in regards to the history and stories that are represented, both known as well as unknown.
From a face-value standpoint, what can coins tell us? For starters, just look at the inscriptions and designs that are on them. Here are a few examples:
What do these inscriptions and/or designs represent (good, bad, or indifferent)? Are they foundational virtues and values or perhaps something else?
We can then look at the dates on coins and better determine the history of that time and in that country. What was going on there politically, economically, and socially (war, peace, famine, thriving, etc.)?
Just like photos, coins can “speak” many words. Even more than the words from photos, coins could tell many incredible stories; that is, if coins could talk. From purely a wild imagination and conjecture standpoint, I have often wondered, “What has [this] coin been through before it came into my possession?”
How many people, from how many different walks of life, have held [this] coin? Could it have been held by royalty or some famous (or infamous) person? Regarding my German (Nazi-era) coins, what tragic stories could they tell?
Here is a LINK to a Flickr album containing many photos of Grandpa Schindler’s coins. What do these photos say and what could these coins speak? I will never truly know. However, one thing I do know is that their history and story is important…whatever it may be.
My two cents.